Tips of the Trade
- Plant the right plant, in the spot, at the right time—and it will thrive with little help. Plan your garden around this rule.
- Full sun means at least 6 hours of sun and 8 is more like it! Lack of sun creates weak plants.
- 1 cubic yard of compost will cover 1000 sq. ft. with ¼” of compost.
- Soil test in the fall so you can add needed organic amendments before spring (we use A & L Eastern Labs). Almost all problems start with a soil imbalance.
- Improve drainage by opening the subsoil with a garden fork, and add twice as much compost as you think you need. With each passing year your soil will become more self-sufficient and gardening gets easier.
- Hardly anyone can make enough compost for their garden (I don’t know anyone) – so buying it is not a cop out! We purchase dump truck loads.
- The single most important think you can do for your garden is what you don’t do!! Resolve now to not use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
- Spray your plants with seaweed and fish liquid fertilizer, it is absorbed quickly and makes for super healthy plants. We aim to do it monthly during the growing season.
- Always use natural-based organic fertilizers, the numbers on the bag should never exceed the number 10.
- Cleanup the garden in fall removing any diseased plants and weeds.
- Know your bugs before you squish them! Often times they are actually good bugs that eat bad bugs! Good Bug, Bad Bug is an excellent easy reference to ID insects.
- Protect your most precious gem; your soil. Mulch often and mulch well with any organic product 3-6” deep. It prevents weeds, retains moisture and brings the soil workers to the soil surface to work.
Just a few thoughts going into winter.
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .
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